SAP Ariba and Fieldglass CMO puts ‘experience management’ in a B2B context

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SAP on Tuesday kicked off its annual SapphireNOW conference with a focus on “experience management” following its recent acquisition of Qualtrics — and the CMO of SAP’s Ariba and Fieldglass businesses is already thinking about what it will mean for her B2B customers.

The company announced 10 different offerings as part of its XM platform that integrates Qualtrics technology, including those aimed at assisting enterprises with market research, employee and customer experience improvements. For Tiefen Dano Kwan, who oversees marketing for both SAP’s Ariba business purchasing network and newly-merged Fieldglass service for managing a contingent workforce, the need for better experience management resonates with what she goes through in her day-to-day role.

“As a marketer, I’ve worked with a lot of suppliers, agencies and partners. If my experience is not right, I won’t choose them again. They could be cheaper, it doesn’t matter,” she told B2B News Network in an interview. “If we manage to find a connection between experience and operational data, it means any investment made will ultimately be better, whether it’s HR, spend management or front office investments.”

Qualtrics was best known for its survey and feedback software, which could provide valuable insights to businesses about other brands, employees and suppliers, Kwan pointed out. 

“It’s critical to any kind of customer,” she said. “If someone is using Fieldglass to source external workers, they might not only look at cost — they might want to look at the value that worker provides, what feedback there might be from others who worked with them, who has used them before and so on.”

The ability to provide better feedback about a company or individual’s behaviour comes at a time when Kwan is helping lead a campaign across Ariba and Fieldglass referred to as the 3 Trillion reasons movement. The name comes from the fact that today, more than $3.1 trillion in purchasing is done across Ariba, which she said accounts for 10 per cent of global trade. However SAP wants its customers to think about how the purchases they make and the suppliers they use align with a sense of purpose.

There are already capabilities within Ariba, Kwan said, which allow customers to look for suppliers based on their environmental commitments, for example, while Fieldglass has hashtags related to diversity and inclusion. The 3 Trillion Reasons movement is intended to encourage enterprises to be more intentional about those choices.

“When companies make technology investments that are aligned with honourable goals, or goals with a global impact, it sends a very strong message to the market. Financial outcomes are not the only outcomes for customers,” she said. “It’s about being purpose-driven, but ultimately these are things that can even improve their bottom line, or safeguard their investment.

“If someone looks at your supply chain and sees your suppliers are fraudulent or using forced labour, the consequences can be devastating — one tweet can be enough.”

While SAP as a whole is using the conference to tout XM and a deeper partnership with Apple and its augmented reality and machine learning technologies, this year represents the first SapphireNOW in which Ariba and Fieldglass are effectively operating as one. While deeper  integration of the two offerings may take time, Kwan said, there is a natural alignment and mindset between the two teams already, and ways in which the tools complement each other.

“One has depth, the other has breadth,” she explained. “You could have your entire source to pay process on Ariba. To gain the depth you need on the contingent workforce you go to Fieldglass.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.